Best Pianists of All Time

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The Top Ten

The other comments pretty much say it all! I have been a Yanni fan for over 25 years and have been to as many concerts as I can get to. In April 2011, we saw him followed by an unheard-of tour the very next year. I was lucky enough to see him twice in June 2012, to have attended my first Fan Event dinner, and especially to have inadvertently crashed rehearsal and chatted briefly with him from a distance! Meeting some of the world-class orchestra members at the dinner and finally meeting Charlie Adams after the concert made the night. Mary Simpson is from very near where I live and she was a joy. Sarah O'Brien, as lovely as always, was also generous with her time. Yoel del Sol has the most adorable smile, and they all were patient while group and individual photos were taken. Thanks also to Krystal Vinck with PR who brought "Santorini" and handed her off to my cousin who was wearing the Santorini shirt from the concert two nights before! I know Pam hated to part with Santorini! I still wish to meet Ming Freeman and, of course, Yanni himself. As he has said, "Dreams do come true. " I am a firm believer of that and am awaiting my day! He is the first musician yet to compose and play music that reaches right into my soul! Although it seems as though the American audiences won't have another tour this year as promised, I am so happy that worldwide audiences get to experience the concert LIVE. There is nothing to compare with a LIVE concert! Come back to America on tour again soon, Yanni! We all love you!
It's probably a once-a-century (or millennia) event that someone rises somewhere in the world; shoots up and keeps on going. Let's not forget that Yanni is a self-educated accomplished musician; his "musical shorthand" is an astoundingly innovative method to make oneself able to read music. He didn't stop at his inability to read conventional notes, but made his own notes to jump over that barrier -- simply amazing! And for someone who could do that, I'm not least astonished that he could come this far, to stand in the foreground of best world musicians and public performers. Yanni's psychology major is probably a contributing element in his success at conveying his music directly to the soul. Yanni you've been my #1 inspiration source and musical delight since August 1993, and still occupy that stature till this very day, 20 years later. God has indeed blessed such wonderful children of His; may He keep you both physically and spiritually, and shower you with His graces. Thank you for being Yanni.
George Afara - Lebanon.
Wait a minute; bear with me please, I have to say this: now I realize (reading Yanni's bio) why I found John Tesh's style so like Yanni's when he released "Live at Red Rocks" back in the nineties -- he toured with Yanni and Charlie Adams back in 1988. Case dismissed.
"Yanni live at the Acropolis" was his finest hour as a pianist, no doubt about that. Despite playing among the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and some world class band members, including a terrific Karen Briggs on violin, Yanni was in my opinion the best and most accomplished performer on the night. Here, he showcased all of his qualities as a pianist/keyboardist: musicality, sensitivity, technique, motoric skills, attention to detail, virtuosity, passion, accompaniment skills, courage, humility, ability to connect with the audience. Another great example of his abilities as a musician is the "In My Time" album - it's full of beautiful, deep piano solo pieces which will warm your heart and heal your soul. Yanni is without a doubt one of the best pianists of our time.
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2Franz Liszt
Stunning technical ability- outstanding musicality evidenced in his compositions- years and years of time to evidence that he did indeed leave a lasting legacy- Franz Liszt must be very highly regarded in any list of pianists.
First of all yanni on top come on man. a person with 0.1% knowledge in this field will tell you that's LIszt perhaps was and is still the best pianist of all time although chopin sir would come close but the Liszt is probably the only man till this date who has fully satisfied his girlfriends!
Yanni is a modern pianist. How can he even be compared to the classical greats? The technical brilliance and the incredible composing and improvising abilities of the virtuosic pianists of the classical and romantic era simply cannot be put against some 'nice sounding' music. With all due respect to every other musician, Beethoven is the greatest composer ever and Franz Liszt is the greatest pianist ever.
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3Elton John
Elton John was accepted at Royal Music Academy at 11 for playing a thirteen sheet piece by Chopin that he had never seen before without any mistake, I believe. He kept playing pieces by heart that he had heard once. Is there anything left to be said?
I agree that Elton is supremely talented. An all time great. But people who never heard of Vladimir Horowitz should never ever be taken seriously when discussing great pianists. Oh by the way. Yanni descrIbed Elton John as the most talented and improvisational pianistt he's ever heard. Personally I believe van cliburn should be at the top of any list
Elton John has something no one else has, a perfect pianist, great singer to, by the way who is Vladimir Horowitz
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4Ludwig van Beethoven
Timeless pieces, flawless execution of emotion through music... How do you beat that?
He is my favorite pianist ever!
He is a great piano player he has great piano pieces like fur Elise
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5Billy Joel
Billy Joel - nobody compares.
Sing us a song you're the Piano Man

6Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
It is blasphemous that mozart isn't number 1. Absolutely blasphemous.
It is all opinion. But I have to say Mozart is a master at piano.
Mozart is the beast
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7William Joseph
I was so fortunate to have seen William Joseph in concert. His music takes us on this great emotional journey leaving us inspired and rejuvenated. He is a great pianist, composer, songwriter and a wonderful person. He started composing at the age of five. Some of the fan favourites are his Piano Fantasy, Within, Sweet Remembrance of You. His latest collection of beloved hymns is a masterpiece. His rendition of Asturias is by far the best I've heard. If you haven't heard him yet please do watch his videos on youtube. He is legendary and he will be remembered for generations to come.
He is the best pianist ever! His albums inspire all of his listeners, and bring such a joy to the world. I think he should be number one on this list! He is young, charming, and well rounded. My most favorite pianist ever. :-) Keep rocking it William!
William Joseph is an amazing piano player! He is passionate about it and it shows! I love his albums! They are wonderful and bring my family and I so much happiness! Plus, he is an amazing man!
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8John Lennon

9Frederic Chopin
He s obviously the greatest pianist in the world. End of Story.
Chopin always first and then we can make a "list".
Man who wrote poems with the piano
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10Oscar Peterson
Fabulous technique and unique interpretation, my favourite pianist
Definitely Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum, obviously a jazz fan and Fur Elise by the way is a very simple piece of music, my 11 year old niece plays it perfectly. Please don't comment if you are not a musician.

The Contenders

11Vladimir Horowitz
Horowitz is the greatest pianist, period. How on earth is it that he being beat by a music school DROPOUT. Horowitz had technically mastery, but also complete control over his dynamics. Just listen to his version of Movement 3 of the Moonlight sonata, a piece a doubt Elton John could even play.
Horowitz' touch was not of this earth. He is hands down, no pun intended the winner here.

And YANNI Before BEETHOVEN? Are you insane? Did you receive a blow to the head lately? Wow.
I agree with the comments. Horowitz is the greatest pianist, period. I agree that most of the people listed could not even play what Horowitz played let alone be listed above him in a top ten listing.
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12Josef Lhevinne

13Ming Freeman
Ming is, as Bette Midler sang, the "wind beneath the wings" of Yanni. The best pianists and keyboardist I have had the pleasure to hear in contemporary times.
He is able to play any genre of music. In one week, I heard him play blues, rock and roll and accompany a Chinese harpist. Very talented and very versatile. Also, a very kind and gentle person.

14Blind Tom Wiggins

15Moriz Rosenthal
No doubt! Yanni is the best! Yanni Chryssomallis! He touches the world's heart! And he learned by own! Autodidact!

16Claude-Achille Debussy

17Jerry Lee Lewis

18Jiří Malásek

19Alicia de Larrocha

20Adele Marcus

21Luigi Saracino

22Sergei Rachmaninov
Well... This pool shows only that mainstream music is dominating and that's why they vote for it. Of course, that Rachmaninov is the best pianist we can listen to...

What about Freddy? He himself said that he was always scared of playing piano in concerts, because of mistakes... What about Elthon John comparing for example Horowitz?..
Was dissacourged by his instructor went through a mental breakdown of sorts and went to write what I consider the greatest piece. His theme because a very popular song and was performed by Perry Como.
Why the hell is Rachmaninov number 27? He is the Paganini of the piano, or the Einstein of science. There's no question that he is the best to ever exist.
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23Lang Lang
Lang Lang is the worlds most amazing pianist in the 21 century! He is so fantastic.
Lang Lang is the best pianist in the world!

24Paul McCartney

25Emil Gilels

26Glenn Gould
Many of his Bach fuges and preludes are perfect. His Liszt/Beethoven symphony nr.5 is the best piano repertoire of all time.
For me, one of the best pianist

27Artur Rubinstein

28Adnan Sami

29Emily Bear
Shes just amazing, no words can discribe how well she plays the piano.

30Marc-andre Hamelin
A triumphant pioneer of old music and the new. Has recording in nearly every area of piano with very approachable musicality and an indisputably profound technical proficiency. He is nothing short of sheer perfection; he is elegant, powerful, subtle, explicit.

YIRUMA ALL THE WAY! HE SHOULD BE #1! There is no doubt in my mind that Yiruma is the best pianist of all time.
Definitely one of my favourites, everybody loves his works, he deserves to be in the top tens at least, or even the eleventh
My all time favorite song is river flows into you.
Seriously... listen to it, it's so peaceful.
I love his work.


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32John Ogdon

33Vijay Venkatesh
Absolutely incredible pianist, I had the privilege of hearing him in cities across California. He will definitely become one of the legendary pianists of the 21st century.
Heavenly tone. Incredible poise and presence. My favorite pianist by far.

34Claudio Arrau
He's extremely talented pianist

Amazingly talented and a great entertainer!
What talent! I can listen to him all day
He sculpted vegas amd america

36Stephen Hough

37Evgeny Kissin
The greatest pianist ever to come out of Russia. His technique is phenomenal, his sound is unique. I love rock and roll, but Elton and Billy couldn't TOUCH this man's ability. Mad props to anyone that actually has a famous pianist on the list.
Kissin was a child prodigy who - so to speak - directed a whole famous Moscow orchestra at age 12 during several Chopin concerts. Never seen a child prodigy like him.
He is the current king of the piano!
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38Matthew Bellamy
Ultimately Brilliant. One of the greatest pianists alive.
Muse's driving force. Impeccable Pianist.
Flawless.. And heart-warming..
Songs Like "Explorers", "United states of eurasia", And "Starlight".
Matthew bellamy is a gifted pianist.
Incompatible with any other Rock artist who plays such exqusite piano.
Great. A legendary Pianist.
5 star to him.

39Martha Argerich
She's also hot (when she was younger of course)

40Jorge Bolet

41Idil Biret

42Valentina Lisitsa
She is the greatest!

43Fazil Say

A Turkish pianist and composer born in Ankara, Turkey.

44Chris Martin

45Art Tatum
Art could play anything the rest of these people composed add his own improvisationin the middle and finish with whatever he started. The others could even keep up.
Listen to his rendition of Tiger Rag. Incredible technique.
Even his peers called him the best of all time in any style.

46Scott Joplin

47Shura Cherkassky

48John Vesely

Cheer up John Vesely secondhand serenade or to get a crown in the competition is ok, you are the champion of the other winners, I support you to be the best, let's keep serenades and John Vesely is the Best, Ryan Cook is the excellent and Tom Broyfogle is expert

49Hiromi Uehara
Just listen to her once.. I m sure you'll fall in love with her.. She is the most talented jazz pianist I've ever heard

50Sviatoslav Richter
His playing abilities can only be compared to Horowitz and Rachmaninoff. He also had GREAT memorization and gave his heart to his music.

51Rick Wakeman

52Tim Rice-Oxley

Best Emotion KEANE best nice good amazing world number one

Must be the most enthusiastic pianist in a while.

53Omar Khairat
! How is he not one of the top 10. So far I've never met anyone who'd say they've listened to Omar khairat music cause the correct phrase is " I've fallen in love with Omar khairat's music". His compositions will surly do nothing but touch the very depths of your soul. Listen to The Case of Am Ahmed to better know this heart-churning artist, then you'd understand where he really belongs on this list.

54Yundi Li

55Krystian Zimerman

56Georgii Cherkin

57Richard Wright

58Harry Connick Jr.

59Keith Emerson

60Benny Andersson

61Stephan Moccio

62Gabriela Montero

63Władysław Szpilman

64Leopold Godowski

65Ben Folds
Deserves to be in top 20 at least. The best rock n' Roll Pianist of the last 20 years.

66Jozef Kapustka
Polish pianist, a true phenomenon of versatility.

67Mike Shinoda
Mike is one talented person i"ve ever seen..and a great pianist too

68Joe Zawinul

69George Gershwin

70Bruce Hornsby

71Johann Sebastian Bach
How have we all forgotten about the one who innovated it all? Look at pieces like Toccata and Fugue and My Jesus! Oh What Anguish and the intricate playing that went into them. This guy was know for using a stick in his mouth to hit extra keys after he had already used all of his fingers.

72Joni Mitchell

73Jeffrey Biegel

74Clara Schumann

75Jan Lisiecki

76Mikhail Vasilievich Pletnev

77John Field

An Irish composer who actually came up with the concept of Nocturne admired by Frédéric Chopin, who subsequently made the piano nocturne famous.

78Andre Mathieu

79Johann Nepomuk Hummel

80Gyorgy Sebok

81Jennifer Thomas

82Yuhki Kuramoto

83Nikolai Lugansky

84Glen Hardin

85Elijah Bossenbroek

86Jon Schmidt

87David Nevue

88Olga Kern

89Adrian Lee

90Hélène Grimaud

91Bryan Pezzone
This man can play the most difficult classical pieces and then turn around an improvise an amazing jazz session and everything in between. Why he isn't more well known is a mystery to me. See him this summer at the California Philharmonic on August 10.

92Yann Tiersen

93Radu Lupu

94David Bryan

95Ayşe Taşpınar

96Anna Sarkisova

97Dave Grusin
Grusin has composed many scores for feature films and television, and has won numerous awards for his soundtrack and record work, including an Academy award and 12 Grammys!

98Muhammad Daffa Fahrizal

99Tori Amos
Come on people, her passion, her stamina...

100Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
He was the best pianist ever in my opinion.

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This list was created 4 years, 121 days ago and has been voted on over 1,000 times. This top ten list contains 106 items, has been remixed 5 times.

Updated Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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